I mentioned a week or two ago the Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation (MGIC). MGIC is a company that provides mortgage insurance in case of borrower default. It is their business to know the risks in the nations real estate markets. On their website they have a detailed analysis of the 72 largest metropolitan areas. Today, I’m going to compare three market areas Denver, Detroit and Seattle. Denver is rated as a stable market with no change on the horizon, Detroit is rated as a soft market with weakening in the future and Seattle is rated a strong market with no change in the near future.


I will go through the main areas of the report in order:


Income Trend

  • Denver – Personal income growth up 7%; Wage and Salary Growth up 8%.

  • Detroit – Personal income growth up 3.75%; Wage and Salary Growth up 3%.

  • Seattle – Personal income growth up 9.8%; Wage and Salary Growth up 10.25%.



  • Denver – Unemployment Rate 4.7%, Employment Growth Rate 5.7%.

  • Detroit – Unemployement Rate 8.75%; Employment Growth Rate -1.25%.

  • Seattle – Unemployement Rate 4%; Employment Growth Rate 6.8%.


Housing Affordibility – A measure of how incomes, median price and mortgage rates interact. The lower the number the more affordable the market is to the most people.

  • Denver – 123 and trending down (good).

  • Detroit – 205 and trending up (poor).

  • Seattle – 78 and trending down (good).


Home Appreciation as measured by OFHEO

  • Denver – 2.8% per year and declining – median price of $249,167

  • Detroit – -1% and declining – median price of $105,940

  • Seattle – 17.5% and stabilizing – median price of $398,244


Single Family Permits vs. Household Growth a measure of population growth.

  • Denver – Household Growth 1.5%, Single Family Permits 14,700 and declining.

  • Detroit – Household Growth -.25%, Single Family Permits 2,200 and declining.

  • Seattle – Household Growth 1.25%, Single Family Permits 10,500 and stable.


Overall, you can see the factors that go into the health of a real estate market. This can be replicated for any of the 72 largest metropolitan areas and is one good tool to identify possible investment areas. After looking at Detroit and other depressed areas in the Midwest I am grateful for the market we do have in Boulder and Denver Colorado.

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